We may hold most of our meetings virtually, but this holiday season, two members of Team CT are having a real-life crossover. In a revamped edition of this year’s Philly Fringe circus darling “Bodies,” Em Holt will star alongside show producer and Watermelon Bathtub co-creator Melissa Mellon. They couldn’t be more excited to share their stories with you. Let’s hand it over to Melissa!
Watermelon Bathtub was founded in April 2022 by me, Melissa Mellon, and Sarah Tuberty, with Victoria Pirenoglu added as our Artistic Director after directing our first show, “Bodies,” for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. “Bodies” is a cabaret-style circus show featuring vignettes of each artist telling a story about their own body. Oftentimes we hear stories about other peoples’ bodies, but these bodies are not being accurately represented, especially if they come from a marginalized group. We wanted to give each person the ability to tell their story in their own way through circus arts. We also want to highlight artists that are not typically seen on the mainstage – this includes artists that are a variety of sizes and that are from BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and disability communities.
“Bodies” was chosen by the audience as the top circus show of the festival and awarded the “Fringie.” After such an amazing experience and outpouring of love, we have decided to remount the show for the holiday season, and include two new cast members.
Em filled out the ‘Work With Us’ form on our website, and after working with Em this year at CircusTalk, I knew about them as a performer. We were immediately drawn to Em’s performance style, as well as their story. In this edition of “Bodies,” their performance will explore their relationship between body hair, queerness, and identity through a blend of dance, movement exploration, and acrobatics. This was a voice that was missing from the original show, and it’s a voice that needs to be heard! Em’s act will also introduce ground disciplines to the lineup, which will help round out and encompass the many ways in which circus can tell stories within the show.
My story in the show focuses on dealing with an “invisible” chronic illness, trying to identify what it means to me, and contemplating how the same illness is drastically different for each person that it afflicts. And it’s funny! It’s not a doom-and-gloom show. Some topics are heavier than others, but that’s also why it was so important to us to have these stories be told by each individual themselves. I love that we can have similar topics, but each story will be wildly different. There’s no one-size-fits-all!
We are so excited to continue to grow this show. It’s a show that can take on many topics, many styles of storytelling, and can reflect specific demographics. The version of this show that you see now is not the same one that premiered during Fringe, and it will not be the same show that you see a year from now on a college campus, or at a festival in another country.
We are a very small company, so if you have the ability, you can donate to our show campaign on Indiegogo. Those in the Philadelphia area can support us locally by purchasing tickets to the December 17th show here. Or if you would like to see the Fringe premiere of “Bodies,” you can purchase the link to it through our Venmo account.
Main image of Melissa Mellon and Em Holt. Their respective photos are credited to Wide Eye Studios and Rewski Photography.
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